20 Thoughts for Your 20s
As today is my 30th birthday, I figured I would do the cliche and write about the last decade of my life for those that are entering their 20's. I am by no means an expert or guru. But, I do believe that the path which I am on is one that is tremendously fulfilling (for me), and the past decade has been an undisputed beautiful set up for the rest of my life. I believe that your 20's can set you on a trajectory toward greatness, if you allow yourself to not be afraid of failure, work hard, focus on meaningful relationships, and learn.
Do not waste them, and you will be lightyears ahead of everyone else as you move into your 30's and beyond.
Here's my (non-exhaustive) list of 20 things for your 20's:
1. Fail a ton
There is no better way to find success than to fail over and over. The startup mentality of 'going fast and breaking things' should be how you live your 20's.
Break things. Fall down. Get back up.
You will find what you really want to put your time into and what you can be exceptional at.
It takes as long as it takes to find success. For me, I failed in numerous endeavours, or they just broke even in my 20's. I traded markets and broke even, started a real estate brokerage that fell through in a couple months (my first brokerage - Revere has been very successful), did a podcast that never really took off, a clothing line, online affiliate marketing, blogs, internet businesses, an irrigation company that was sold. I have done a ton, and the failures have simply shown me what works, what I am good at, what I enjoy, and what I am capable of. I also have had great successes that I am super grateful for.
Failure is only failure if you give up.
Failing a ton also leads you to...
2. Learn Skills
Much of my 20's was spent learning.
I knew nothing about computers at the age of 23, and 7 years later I have created countless web apps, built dozens of computers, run enterprise grade networking, and could likely solve almost any of your problems in an afternoon. All of this came from complete ignorance (I didn't know the difference between CPU/RAM/GPU). I am now a hyper nerd (as you'll see if you read my blog) - I use Emacs full time, Linux on all my machines, automate tasks, program, and have made hundreds of thousands of dollars because of my skills - skills that will continue to pay dividends until computers are no more.
Same with sales. Advertising. Writing. Video editing. Diet and Exercise. Mindset. Interpersonal skills. You name it.
You should not be so focused on earning but much more on learning in your 20's.
Those skills that you develop help you to become the best in the world at your unique and developed 'skill stack'. You're a great speaker, have soft skills, technical skills, and industry knowledge? You are now undefeatable.
There is no competition.
3. Seek REAL relationships
Much of my 20's was spent in fast relationships. A night here, a couple months there.
Hell, I was in a 3 year relationship with a girl that I was not faithful emotionally to for one day of our whole time together. I wasn't willing to be vulnerable and open to the chance of getting hurt, so I simply cut off the possibility of that happening. If I could go back, I would have ended things very soon after they had began - I wasn't ready for a real relationship.
I learned that in order to have real connection, you have to be ready for it. You have to work on yourself and be completely content in who you are as a human being. If you are whole without anyone else, then you can be complete with someone, too.
I wasted a ton of time, but I also had many genuine and meaningful connections that I will forever be grateful for. As I move into my 30's as a new dad, I am thankful for the time that I did 'waste', because it led me to where I am now, in a deeply meaningful and loving relationship with a child that I am stoked to be a father to.
This also goes beyond romantic relationships, too.
Your friends should be the kind that you could call at 3am when your car breaks down. If you don't think a friend would come bail you out of jail, then you likely should keep them at an arm's length. I have been there for people, but when the shoe was on the other foot I received radio silence. Choose your friends very wisely. I have made drastic cuts to the roster as I move into my 30's, and the peace of mind and depth of the friendships that I do have make a massive difference to my well-being and happiness. There is nothing better than great friends - and there is nothing worse than being alone when you are with others.
4. Get and stay physically fit
When I broke my back at the age of 20, I could deadlift just shy of 500 pounds, squat ~400 and was in the gym 10+ times a week. This served me in a recovery in which I lost over 50 pounds of bodyweight, and because I knew how to contract and manipulate musculature, I made a miraculous recovery (also because of the mindset I cultivated, more on that in a few points.)
I owe much of my recovery to an early obsession with health and fitness.
It doesn't matter if you aren't planning on having a catastropic injury - get and stay physically fit.
Your future self will thank you. As I turn 30, there are pains that I have to work on, I have to stretch more, and I generally am not going for one rep maxes, but the base that I built in my late teens and 20's has followed me and helped me to nearly never get sick and be virtually pain-free (there are good and bad days, don't get me wrong) from an injury that most people would be taking opioids for the rest of their lives to treat.
5. Read a lot
In addition to #2, reading pays momentous dividends for the time invested. The mentality shift that has come from reading some of the great works of literature has shaped my entire worldview and given me understanding that would leave 18 year old me's head spinning.
I do not subscribe to the 'reading is too slow' mentality that seems to pervade our culture. There are universal concepts that were being written about 5000 years ago - you get to simply hop into the minds of those authors, and it is a gift to be able to do so.
Read fiction as well as non-fiction.
Fiction is a commentary from the author about everything - their outlook, worldview, ideas, dreams, views on people - everything. You get inside the head of another human being, and learn a lot about yourself in the process.
Reading is not dead, the smartest people read a ton. It also will set you wildly apart from the masses who have an attention span of less than 8 seconds. I aim to read a minimum of 25 pages per day, and often overshoot that drastically when I'm into a topic or rabbit hole. Just 25 pages per day is 3-4 books a month.
6. Get the consumption of alcohol out of your system
I haven't been hungover in years.
As you get further into your 20's you will notice the effects of a night out drinking far more.
At 18, I could go out 4 nights a week - at 25, once a week was looking like a tall ask - at 30, I assume this will look like maybe once a year maximum. Your recovery from binge drinking falls off a cliff as you age and you are also kneecapping your physical and mental progress with days that you will never get back. I spent a few too many days completely incapacitated after a big night of drinking, and there's not much to show for it.
As you get into your mid 20's you won't feel right for days - sometimes even a week later. This is valuable time you should be using to work on your physical and mental strength, your business, and your overall happiness. If you value your physical health, the progress that you made in the gym that week will all but be wiped out with a night of binge drinking. Get this completely out of your system by the time you are in your late 20's.
I personally see no benefit of excessive alcohol in your life. Sure, have a drink or two with friends, but getting 'drunk' or 'blackout' is lame and childish.
Control your impulses, bro.
7. Kill your Ego - Allow yourself to suck at things
Similar to failing a ton - you cannot have an ego at 20 years old.
I look back and I thought I knew it all.
I thought I had it all figured out. I didn't - I still don't.
For me, my ego was murdered on the doorstep of my 20's because of my injury, but I still cringe at how much I thought I knew. You have to not be afraid to ask questions, to be a beginner at things, and to humble yourself before those that would mentor you and help you find your potential.
Killing your ego is also of spiritual necessity.
In coming to find that you are more than the self, you will be a changed person in the best way possible. My awakening to these facts did not come until recently, but the love I feel for who I am and everyone and everything around me is immense and continually growing. By deleting the Ego, you begin to see how much more there is beyond this physical existence, how interlinked to everyone and everything you are, and how much more there is beyond the veil of existence.
8. Move out of your hometown
I moved to Montreal in 2019, and although it wasn't permanent, it helped to show me who I really was - I could be all of myself with people and a place I never knew and never knew me. There is a ton of subconscious baggage with the place that you grew up - people have preconceived notions of who you are, you have associations with places and people. A blank slate will allow you to get out of your shell.
As much as you think that you'll be friends with everyone you went to highschool or college with, chances are you will be able to count on one hand those people that are still in your life by 30.
Leave for a bit, go explore this big world of ours. The grass is not necessarily greener, but you won't know until you know. I am very thankful for having gotten out of my hometown, and I believe that you should, too. If nothing else, it will give you perspective, something that a vast majority of people lack.
9. Cut out Negative, Soul Crushing People
You need to set standards for the people that you surround yourself with.
If someone treats you poorly, if they don't respect who you are, you should cut them out of your life. Delete their number, stop replying to them, and leave the toxic environment. Most people are not on the same flight path in this life, and you will effortlessly meld with people one season of life, and the next it was as if the gears never meshed at all.
Don't try to push a square peg into a round hole. Relationships should be two way streets and honestly be nearly effortless because both parties want to be in the company of eachother. They glean value from simply sitting in a room and conversing.
Be very cognizant of those that are envious of you, or try to bring you down. There are snakes in the grass that are only about themselves, only about their material success, and will do whatever necessary to get there.
These are not friends, they are energy vampires.
Leave those people.
Cut out those that don't want to grow and learn. I personally have removed people that are obsessed with money and status because these things mean absolutely nothing to me. At one point in my 20's I was materialistic to the Nth degree and brought these people into my life by circumstance. I am no longer that person.
Working for money is one of the lamest things you can possibly do.
Negativity does not touch me any longer - it is completely beneath my plane of existence. You should be so beyond negative energy that you no longer even register it on your proverbial radar.
10. Be completely present
Learn to be completely and utterly in the Now.
In finding presence in everything that you do, you begin to see how blissful and beautiful this life really is. If you are always rushing from point A to point B, you are missing the whole point of life (pun intended). You are never outside the Now. It is eternal - no future, no past. In understanding this, you need not be defined by the illusioned past, or move in fear of the future.
The greatest feelings in my life have come from being completely and utterly present. When I broke my spine, it brought me into the ever-lasting Here and Now; What an absolute gift that was. It was only nearly a decade later did I understand the significance of this.
11. Get spiritual
Life if more than the material. It is more than the 'four walls' of this 3-D experience. When you begin to shut off the mind, and go beyond, you start to see what, who, and where this is all happening. It doesn't necessarily mean you join a church or religion - it means you spend time in nature, in the greatest creation that ever has been, and begin to create yourself.
Understand that separate-ness is an illusion. That there is only One.
Presence leads to spirituality, spirituality leads to presence. When you are meditating or praying, you are present by default. What a feeling this becomes.
Connect to God. The Great Beyond. The Universal Consciousness. The Eternal. The Ether. Brahman.
Doesn't matter what you call it. Connect.
Pursue lasting and beyond material things
When you begin to see that your life is everlasting, you begin to treat everyone with the level of respect that two eternal beings. Moreso, you begin to treat everyone as you wish to be treated.
Pursue lasting joy, bliss, being. Define yourself in the depths and everlasting nature. Not in the futile and superfluous. If it can be taken away from you, decide that you will no longer see that thing as any part of who you are.
“You are not your job, you're not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”
12. You can get better with age
You are hitting your stride as you hit your late 20's and 30 is getting into your peak form. If you used your 20's to prepare you for the rest of your life, you will see gains that come almost effortlessly. You are older, wiser, and people take you more seriously.
If you work on your health, fitness, and mind, you will be unstoppable. Do not believe those that would say you peak at 18 years old and it's all downhill from there. Those people do not know.
13. Stop using shampoo and deodorant
Not only this, but stop consuming anything that is not going to bring you health and longevity.
Sure, that mcdonalds tastes good but you will feel like utter shit in about 10 minutes.
It isn't worth it.
Cut out the non-natural chemicals that run rampant modern society. Become very health conscious and pick the quality food, products, and consumables that may cost more in the shorterm but in the longterm provide you with a higher baseline of health.
Invest in your health.
Every purchase you make is now an INVESTMENT.
14. Experience is the most valuable
I would pay top dollar for experience, whereas in my early 20's I wanted to buy things.
Experiences are perhaps all that you can take with you when you pass on. Do not @ me about this.
Spend nights with good people talking about amazing things, go places, experience what the world has to offer, and you will see that you feel better than you ever could in buying that thing you thought you always wanted. Travel, explore, and involve yourself.
15. Stop sinning
Sin is missing the mark.
It is doing the things that you know you should not be doing. It is breaking the promises that you have made to yourself.
If you are able to do this, if you are able to give up the things that are holding you back, you will find that you are so much greater than you thought you could ever be.
But, you have to give these things up.
That means give up the cheap dopamine. Give up the pornography (young guys, you know what I am talking about), give up the alcohol, give up the drugs, give up the garbage media, give up the laziness, the procrastination.
Give it all up. Let go of it all, remove the shackles - see how high you will fly.
16. Comparison is the thief of joy
Compare yourself to others, and you will never be happy. I promise you that.
The moment that you decide that your life is in competition with only your own life is the moment that everything changes - you are now trying to be better than yourself yesterday.
And, nothing is impossible now. You start to view progress as the goal - the journey is now the destination. You can take inspiration from other people's successes and to see what is possible in the four minute miles of life, but do not compare.
17. Develop an Unbreakable Mindset
You can build immense confidence in your 20's in doing the hard things. You can train your mind to be your greatest help and asset, or you can allow the whims of the world to overpower.
I have written ad nauseam about this. You can read my book coming later this year that discusses building a mind that is completely and utterly infallible.
An ironclad mindset is not afraid of anything of this world - it knows that you are infinite.
Act as such.
18. Find love.
I didn't understand the significance of the answer I gave while playing Hygge with my late aunt a couple years ago. When asked "love or money" without hesitation I said "Love."
Love will drive you all the places that everything else will not. You will do the greatest acts out of Love. You will be passionate and deeply involved with the people and things that you love. If you find love in the actions that you take, nothing can stop you. The things I have been most passionate about have yielded the greatest lessons and rewards in my life.
Love is the greatest power on this planet and in the Universe. Find another human being that sees you as themselves, and build something together. Don't 'date'. Go all in with someone that will make your life a great adventure. Turn to them every night and be thankful for their coming into your life.
Love is the answer.
19. Find yourself.
You will not likely 'find yourself' on a beach somewhere. You will find yourself in the struggles that life hands you. The pain that will inevitably come. And, in the love and passion that you exude. Your life can be an expression, an artistic outpouring. If you treat yourself as a journey, never defining yourself by anything other than that expression, you will see. You can be whatever and whoever you want to be. Most do not ask themselves simply "who do I want to be?"
Self is not pondered. Self is created.
20. Find your purpose.
In your 20's you have the opportunity to find what your purpose is.
You have the time and energy to see what you are great at, where you can make other people's lives better, and what lights your soul on fire. So many people are living lives of mediocrity simply because they know what their purpose is, but they are afraid of working toward it. They know what they should be doing but instead allow themselves to be consumed with the distractions of the modern world. Go against the grain. Be the person that others can take inspiration from.
It does not matter what this purpose is - I cannot answer for you what the Highest Version of Self looks like for you. You have to answer that question, and then make the conscious decision to pursue it in the very fibre of your Being.